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October 15, 2013

Reading Partners Promotes Students' Belief in their Own Ability

“I’ll never forget the card I received from Keijah,” said Carol Hylton, referring to her student from last year. “In the card Keijah wrote, ‘Thank you for helping me be a great reader.’” Carol noticed that Keijah didn’t write “thank you for making me a great reader.”

carolThis self-efficacy, fostered within their tutoring sessions, along with the concrete literacy skills that Keijah learned through Carol’s use of the Reading Partners curriculum, enabled Keijah to “blossom” as a reader. With the individualized attention Carol gave, Keijah developed self-motivation when it came to reading.

Carol, a Maryland resident for most of her life, currently works as a psychotherapist in her own private practice of 13 years. Her experience working in therapy, and prior to that as a clinical social worker, has enabled her to approach the one-on-one tutoring with an ego-support, or self-efficacy, mindset.

“I’ve learned how much difference it makes, especially if a child needs extra support, to have that one-on-one [tutoring and mentoring support],” says Carol. Reading Partners developed a program that really facilitates this growth. [Reading Partners provides] flexibility within the structure of the program.”

Carol saw that once her students began to see that they could read, they began to enjoy the act of reading. Her favorite tutoring memory occurred last year when Cherry Hill’s site coordinator told her that her student “kind of” got into trouble. Keijah’s teacher caught Keijah reading her book underneath her desk during class. The little girl who once dreaded reading was now sneaking her book in class because she couldn’t wait to read it!

Carol-pull-quoteIf Carol could recommend a tip to tutors to guide their tutoring sessions, she would emphasize the importance of having fun. The Tutor Read Aloud portion of the lesson is a great time to demonstrate how fun reading can be. Carol recommends that tutors should also praise students for their successes. She said, “Notice every single thing your student does well.”

Now Carol tutors twice a week with Khyha at Friendship Academy at Cherry Hill, and she says she’s beginning to see Khyha “blossom.” Khyha recently jumped in her leveled reading from a Level A book to a Level B. Carol and Khyha happily celebrate this great success and will do so with future successes as well.

Carol highly recommends that other members of our community join her in becoming Reading Partners.  As she said, “The experience of successfully launching a child into the awareness of the pleasures of reading is so satisfying. There’s a lot of gratification in just imparting the pleasure of reading to another human being. It’s gifting [reading] to somebody.”


In January 2012, Reading Partners Baltimore launched its first reading center at Friendship Academy at Cherry Hill; Carol Hylton started volunteering two months later. Over the course of her time with Reading Partners, Carol has tutored two students. This year she tutors alongside her third Reading Partner – a second grader named Khyha. To give a child the gift of reading today, please visit our website at

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